Whether it's beating up bandits or lusting after busty chicks survivng in a post-apocalypictic desert has never been so much over the top fun!
What They Say
The Great Kanto Desert is a place of extremes where a hero dies an anonymous death and a villain goes down in a blaze of glory. And then there's this guy... Meet Kanta Mizuno. He's not your typical hero and his methods are not always honorable, but he's the closest thing to a good guy the desert's got. Self proclaimed as the "Desert Punk," he's out to make a name for himself as the best handyman for hire. No job is too tough, no opponent too nefarious - once Desert Punk's on the job, it's as good as done!
Get the job done.
Collect the money.
Contains all 24 episodes.
I listened to this DVD primarily in 5.1 English with a spot check on the Japanese side. In the 5.1 mix both the music and voices come across very clear while in the stereo mix for both the Japanese and English everything is lower but there are no noticeable distortions or dropouts.
Being released in 2004 the video quality is very good. Colors are bright and strong. The background work also comes off as really impressive and there are several spots where the desert scenes look extremely photo realistic. There is some graininess in the 1st ED song due to the alternate angles.
The series comes packaged in a cardboard slipcase with an image of Kanta and his rival, Junko, on the front. There are three clear think packed disc cases holding a total of six discs. The cover art for the thin packs are text less versions of some of the original single disc cover art, while on the inside there is a reverse image. On the back side of the DVDs there is a listing of the episodes, as well as the extras on the discs underneath some promotional art for the series. The back cover of the boxed set has a few choice screenshots toward the lower left corner and well as a few blurbs on the top. There is also a technical grid that has the running times, screen aspect ratio, sound, and language options. All the usual information that makes it easier to write this review.
The menus have a very simple and direct layout that is a static screenshot image with everything listed for easy navigation on the left hand side of the screen. The BGM that plays during the menu is usually a short unobtrusive piece.
What I’m most pleased about this release is that these seem to be all the discs from the original release with all the extras retained. Funimation stepped up to the plate and not only do we have quite a few English only extras (such as outtakes, commentaries, and auditions) but we also get a lot of the Japanese extras as well including Desert Punk parody movie posters, staff interviews, and behind the scene videos. There are even a few easter eggs on every disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
From the moment I put in the first DVD and I saw the live-action sentai-esque OP I knew this series was going to be a unique ride. Desert Punk is one of those anime series that surprises me. Not because the series is very original (a lot of the content in the show has been done in various other anime series) but because it combines the elements and does it well.
Before I get into a summary of the series I would like to point out that I watched this series in English. When I review a series I rarely go into discrepancies between the Japanese and English version but this is one of those series where the English version has a “punched up” script. What this means is that while the general plot is the same there is a lot of comedic ad-libbing and raunchier dialogue in the English version. This made watching the English version more of a priority after spot checking the 1st episode in Japanese and finding myself having a lot more laugh out loud moments with the English version.
On a cautionary note I would also like to point out that the main character’s sexism throughout the series can be downright degrading and there are quite a few instances where he puts female characters into a borderline rape scenario which I think can turn off a lot of viewers who may have sensitivity to that type of thing. Thankfully this is toned down in the second half of the series which focuses more on character development of the supporting cast.
The series follows 13-year old Kanta Mizuno nicknamed “The Desert Punk” (or Sunabozu in Japanese) who is a desert mercenary in a post apocalyptic future where the remainder of humanity must survive in the ruthless Kanto Desert. Kanta has earned quite a reputation for himself, and has the nickname “The Demon of the Desert” for relying on quick wit, and sheer ruthlessness in order to survive in this environment. He takes on various mercenary work to make a living for himself, but often times blows through his money in order to purchase more effective desert equipment.
Unfortunately, he also has an extreme libido which causes him many problems especially with his G-cup sized rival Junko who uses her assets to con Kanta into doing dangerous jobs for her.
While episodic in nature events that occur in episodes always affect later episodes giving the series a very semi-serial nature. The first disc serves to introduce us to Desert Punk and all the primary characters for the rest of the series. The first episode does a very good job of summing up the basic theme of the series which ultimately comes down to “Survival in the desert is a bitch.” Most of the episodes on this disc show the various rivalries and associations Desert Punk has while taking on his mercenary work. Often times it Desert Punk’s tenacious nature that gets him through many situations and often also causes more problems than it resolves. In the fourth episode a young girl named Kosuna manages to trick Desert Punk into a sniper’s trap and thanks to his ingenuity he defeats the sniper.
Kosuna then decides to become Desert Punk’s disciple but this plotline doesn’t really get going until the later half of the second disc.
Disc two starts off with a two-parter about Desert Punk protecting a village from Raiders because the village is about to unearth a large supply of water that will bring prosperity to their village. Unfortunately, Kanta’s gluttony puts him at odds with the villagers as he depletes their water and food supply. While he does manage to eventually save the village he ends of being kicked out of the village, mainly because his reward would have been to have his way with the mayor’s daughter. The next episode Kosuna finally catches up with him and convinces him to take her on as his apprentice. The way she does this is by showing him a picture of what (supposedly) her mother looks like. After seeing the cleavage of Kosuna’s mother it doesn’t take much for Desert Punk to add things up and he decides to take Kosuna on only so he can nurture her into a well-endowed adult woman who will cater to his every whim. The disc ends with one of Kanta and Kosuna’s first jobs together. They have to destroy a cursed rock that is sealed by a dog woman. This episode is simply hilarious because towards the end there are so many disturbing visuals involving the characters’ libidos .
Starting with disc three we begin to see the foundations of the second half of the series take root. A millionaire who basically created the Desert Punk version of the Game of LIFE (called the Game of LIVING in the dub to avoid certain copyright issues) hires Kanta through Junko to go on a treasure hunting mission in a ghost town. The steaks quickly change when Kanta encounters a Terminator-esque guardian. He eventually defeats the guardian and discovers the old man’s true intentions where to copy the guardian’s technology and replicate more to create an army of invincible soldiers, a plot point that dominates the later half of the series. While the old man makes his departure Kanta holds Junko prisoner for attempting to betray him and the millionaire. Which leads to one of the more controversial episodes of the series. Kanta takes Junko and locks her in a small compound he found during one of his journeys. He then creates various situations where Junko ends up wearing nothing but a swimsuit and stripper heels while he watches her secretly from the ventilation system. He then reveals his plan is to force her into a situation where he and her have sex and he gets her pregnant. He then intends to ditch her once the deed is done. While I have seen a lot of anime where women are put in compromising positions I have to admit I kind of felt uncomfortable with the nature of this episode and while it does show the juvenile perverseness of the main character I felt it was also giving a disturbing message on the treatment of women as sex objects and baby incubators. I think most viewers would benefit on just skipping to the fourth disc.
Starting with the fourth disc and going through the sixth disc the series get a new opening and ending to correspond with the thematic change in the series. While the series still has quite a bit of comedy it begins to focus on the political aspects of the world Desert Punk lives in. It also starts with this disc that Kosuna actually becomes a more competent character and her skills and abilities actually begin to rival Kanta’s.
It was the last two discs that made the series really come into its own as the direction it takes is very different from everything that has been previously established with the series. Kanta and Kosuna end up uncovering an underground mercenary organization (that is composed of most of the characters introduced throughout the series) focusing on overthrowing the desert’s Oasis government in hopes of cultivating a better world. Kanta makes many decisions towards the end of the series that may seem disgusting and inhumane but it also comes off as completely in-character and in cohesion with the survival theme of the show. The series of events that follow lead to Kanta being removed from the narrative and Kosuna takes on the title of Desert Punk. This was a surprising change and it actually showed that this series strength lies not just in the main character but how he has affected and changed Kosuna over the course of the show. The final episodes have another surprise in store for the viewer and while it does seem like it is a risky and dramatic change it helps make this series actually preserve a certain degree of integrity for not falling into many anime clichés.
Despite some of main character’s oversexed treatment of women Desert Punk is a very good series. The comedy in the first half is genuinely hilarious while the plot twists of the second half turn a lot of what was established in this show on it’s head and makes for some very original writing.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Life in the Desert, Desert Parody. Textless Songs, As Seen On TV, Main Character Cast Auditions, Original Japanese Extras
Toshiba 50” 52HMX95 1080P HDTV, Samsung HT-Z410 CD Player HDMI set to 1080p and a 5.1 ch Speaker System with 166-Watt Subwoofer.